A combination of cytokine-induced killer cells and immunotherapy suppresses liver cancer in vivo

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Researchers demonstrate the possibility of using a combination of cytokine-induced killer cells and dendritic cell immunotherapy for the treatment of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

HCC is the sixth most prevalent cancer and the third most frequent cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The majority of patients are not only affected by the malignant disease but also suffer from chronic liver disease and patients with cirrhosis are at highest risk of developing HCC. Immunotherapy have been successfully used for the treatment of several cancers including malignant melanoma, acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma. However, the response of HCC to immunotherapy is often disappointing and thus there remains an urgent need for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to address this.

In the present study published in Immunological Investigations, a team of Korean researchers investigated whether a combination of cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells and dendritic cell (DC) vaccination could enhance the cytotoxicity against hepatocarcinoma tumor cells. CIKs and DCs were prepared from C3H/HeJ mice and were injected into a murine hepatic cell carcinoma model (MH134) to test the in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of the system. Results showed that CIK cells combined with DC immunotherapy could significantly inhibit the tumor growth in vivo compared to control groups that were administered either CIK cells or DC immunotherapy alone. The combination therapy also led to a further increase in the population of cytotoxic T cells in vivo. In addition, the combination therapy significantly enhanced cytotoxic activity against MH134 cells as was assessed by an in vitro lactate dehydrogenase release assay. Thus, the study proposes cytokine-induced killer cells combined with dendritic cell immunotherapy as a promising strategy for HCC therapy.

Source: Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy Combined with Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells Effectively Suppresses Established Hepatocellular Carcinomas in Mice. Jung NC et al., Immunological Investigations July 2016. DOI